Dundee United have asked for support from fellow Scottish Professional Football League clubs as they fight to protect their promotion to the Premiership, and want fans across Scotland to donate cash to cover legal fees.
The Tannadice club, along with Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, were named as title winners and awarded promotion when the SPFL voted to call an early end to 2019/20 season after coronavirus stopped all professional sport in Scotland.
Hearts and Partick Thistle were relegated by the same vote and raised a legal challenge at the Court of Session, which concluded with the dispute being referred to a Scottish FA arbitration panel
United say the cost of opposing that move has already passed £50,000 and will rise by a further £100,000.
The clubs say that they considered withdrawing from the arbitration process and hoping that their argument would still stand but have decided that the risk of failure is too high. They are now seeking help with the costs, arguing that all league clubs will feel the financial impact of Hearts and Partick Thistle being successful.
In a statement published on the club website, a spokesperson said:
“If successful in their action, in our opinion Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle would compromise the sporting integrity of the SPFL with clubs having been declared champions of their league not being promoted.
“Having won the Championship by a considerable margin, and invested substantial sums of money in preparing for next season in the Premiership, a decision to overturn the SPFL resolution that was supported by 34 of the 42 member clubs would be ruinous for us and our fans.
“Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle could also be awarded significant sums in terms of compensation. Their compensation claim is for a total of £10 million. For the SPFL and its member clubs this would have potentially catastrophic consequences, with any compensation payment made to Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle being paid directly out of SPFL funds that are distributed to all clubs each season as prize money.
“It is with these factors in mind, that, along with Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, we are reaching out to our fellow member clubs for support in defending this action, which has not only potentially grave consequences for us, but every SPFL club.
“We also intend running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help fund the huge legal bills that we face. We hope that as well as our own supporters, fans of clubs across Scotland will see this as a worthy cause to get behind in that if Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle are successful in their action it could have serious ramifications for the whole of Scottish football.”